The Coast Guard offloaded 23,000 lbs. of cocaine and 6,900 lbs. of marijuana at Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Tuesday. The illegal drugs were part of contraband seized and recovered during 11 interdictions of suspected drug smuggling vessels by four Coast Guard cutters and two Navy ships. The estimated value of the seized drugs is $408 million.
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives. Numerous U.S. agencies cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys’ offices in districts across the nation. The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 11th District, headquartered in Alameda, Calif., and the law enforcement phase of operations in the Caribbean is conducted under the authority of the Coast Guard 7th District, headquartered in Miami. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Taking part in the interdictions were the Coast Guard cutter James, a 418′ national security cutter homeported in Charleston, S.C.; the Mohawk, a 270′ medium endurance cutter homeported in Key West, Fla.; the Escanaba, a 270′ medium endurance cutter homeported in Boston; and the Confidence, a 210′ medium endurance cutter homeported in Port Canaveral, Fla. The Navy’s USS Pinckney , a 510′ Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported at Naval Base San Diego, and the USS Lassen, a 510′ Arleigh Burke-class destroyer homeported at Naval Station Mayport, Fla., also took part.